WSET reports record number of candidates completed its qualifications

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has announced record year for the number of candidates completing its course qualifications, for the 13th year running.

The trust says candidate numbers increased by 9% to 61,452 for the 2014/15 academic year.

They comprise:

· UK candidate numbers up 11% to 15,135;

· US overtakes mainland China as second largest WSET market, up 26% to 6,779 candidates;

· Despite market challenges, mainland China sees growth up 13% to 6,598 candidates;

· France’s appetite for WSET courses continues with candidate numbers up 23% to 2,095;

· Candidates in Canada and Australia show double-digit growth year-on-year.

This was a special year for the WSET. It won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade (see picture of WSET chief executive Ian Harris being presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace).

The trust expanded its international network with the addition of course providers in Lebanon, Belarus, Paraguay, Ukraine and Ecuador, bringing the number of countries where WSET qualifications are available to 66.

WSET chief executive Ian Harris said: “Another year of strong growth demonstrates the increasing demand for WSET qualifications globally and the numbers are testament to the quality and relevance of WSET courses and qualifications. Our business grows because individuals – as well as the global industry - recognise WSET as the benchmark for wine and spirit knowledge and seek out our programmes.

“It is especially pleasing to see sustained growth in established markets, alongside rapid growth in some of our emerging markets.

Having our business recognised with a Queen’s Award only reinforces our position as market leader – a position that we, with the support of our Corporate Patrons and growing network of course providers, are committed to continue building,” said Harris.

WSET’s top 10 markets 2014/15 (previous position)

1. UK (1)

2.USA (3)

3. Mainland China (2)

4. Canada (5)

5. Hong Kong (4)

6. Taiwan (6)

7. Australia (7)

8. France (9)

9.South Korea (8)

10.Switzerland (11)

Basis: total candidate numbers, unweighted. Source: WSET